Single-use plastic items including plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks and cotton buds, will be banned in the EU under new plans.
These products make up over 70% of marine litter, according to the EU, and will be banned from the EU market from 2021 under draft plans approved by the European Parliament.
MEPs added products made of oxo-degradable plastics, such as bags or packaging, and fast-food containers made from expanded polystyrene, to the banned list.
The consumption of several other items that don’t have an alternative will have to be reduced by member states by at least 25% by 2025.
This includes single-use burger boxes, sandwich boxes or food containers for fruits, vegetables, desserts or ice creams.
Member states will also have to draft national plans to encourage the use of products that are suitable for multiple use, as well as re-using and recycling.
Beverage bottles will have to be collected separately and recycled at a rate of 90% by 2025.
MEP Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE), who was the rapporteur for the legislation, said: “We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single-use plastics. It is up to us now to stay the course in the upcoming negotiations with the Council, due to start as early as November. Today’s vote paves the way to a forthcoming and ambitious directive. It is essential in order to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at €22 billion by 2030.”
MEP’s have previously agreed to a 35% mandatory recycled content for new plastic bottles.